Remote Work Digest: March 31, 2023

The latest on all kinds of information, news, and resources that help you make working remotely better.

How to Spot Quiet Quitting in Remote Work: 9 Tips | Barbara Ivusic,

The term “quiet quitting” has been used to describe people who have mentally checked out of their jobs. Instead of quitting, an employee chooses to do less—or do just enough to turn over a paycheck.

Most quiet quitters are out looking for new work or focusing their time and energy on projects outside of work. With remote work making it difficult to spot quiet quitters, there are some signs to look out for.

1.They Don’t Participate in Meetings

If you have a teammate who is selective about the meetings they attend, while knowing full well that their presence is required, you may have a quiet-quitter. While it may not be necessary to attend every meeting, if your team member is deliberately missing meetings to prove a point, it could mean their motivation has gone down.

2. They Don’t Join Events

If your team has organized leisure events online, such as gaming nights or virtual get-togethers, and people are uninterested in joining, there could be a number of reasons. They could have a lot on their plate already, or they have other commitments, but if team members are choosing to avoid every single event, it could be an indication that they’ve lost their desire to interact with their team.

3. They Withdraw or Check Out

If a team member suddenly seems indifferent about the company or their work, it could indicate that they no longer care about their position and are (likely) on the lookout for something else. While there are signs that tell you when somebody is ready to leave their job, it could be that there is a more prominent problem in their lives.

4. They Don’t Meet Deadlines

While there could be a number of reasons for the change in quality, such as personal problems, or burnout, consistently handing in work that is not up to scratch may mean that they are quiet quitting. There are smart ways to quit a job on good terms, but if your colleague no longer shows interest in the way their poor performance is perceived, they are likely on their way out.

5. They Act Disinterested

If your co-worker is cynical about the company culture, or disinterested in the work they are doing, it could indicate that they are getting ready to leave.

6. They Are Not Reachable

One of the reasons that people choose to quiet-quit is when they are feeling overworked, uninspired, or underpaid. One way to spot that someone has lost interest in their work is by the working hours they do.

7. They Isolate Themselves

In a remote working environment, it is still possible to perform to the best of your abilities. This includes staying active in chat channels, contributing ideas, and having an input in work processes. If your colleague is no longer participating in any of these things, and they’ve decided to isolate themselves both mentally and emotionally from workplace demands, it could be a sign that they are quiet quitting.

8. They Don’t Show Initiative

While there are a number of reasons why somebody is no longer showing initiative, a quiet-quitter usually doesn’t want to give more of themselves to a company they no longer care about.

9. They Might Be Burned Out

While burnout is not a prerequisite for quiet quitting, people who are overworked and underpaid could turn into quiet quitters. Companies with a high turnover, unclear expectations, and those that report a spike in workplace stress, might well produce some quiet quitters.

Understand the Reasons Behind Quiet Quitting

While it may be easy to jump to conclusions as to why somebody is quiet quitting, not every employee is the same. By looking deeper into the reasons why somebody is no longer contributing to their workplace like they used to, you may be able to get to the bottom of their behavior.

The 11 Best Places to Find Virtual Assistant Jobs | Jose Luansing Jr.,

Although there are thousands of VA job opportunities online, you might find the numerous options intimidating. Newbies won’t even know where they should start looking. To jumpstart your job hunt, we’ll share the best freelance sites and platforms that offer legit, lucrative VA jobs.


Upwork is arguably the largest freelance platform today. It has amassed 12 million active freelancers and 5 million paying clients worldwide since it started in 2013. The site also accommodates users from 180+ countries.

2. Fiverr

Fiverr is a widely known and trusted marketplace for freelance services. It has more than 3.42 million paying customers from 190+ countries who regularly hire various freelance virtual assistants.

3. LinkedIn

LinkedIn serves as the go-to social media platform for professional networking. Although the site originally catered to headhunters and job hunters, it has recently been more accommodating of freelancers.

4. 27/7 Virtual Assistant

24/7 Virtual Assistant primarily caters to newbie and intermediate VAs. It offers one-off gigs for administrative tasks like document filing, basic bookkeeping, simple web development, site maintenance, and customer service. Most projects will require 1 to 6 hours of availability a week.

5. Fancy Hands

Fancy Hands takes projects from SMBs and mid-sized enterprises, then divides them among its operations associates, otherwise known as VAs. Expect to see a broad range of orders. Apart from standard administrative services, you could also perform specific tasks, like making phone calls on behalf of clients, hunting for good shopping deals, or looking for hotel room discounts.

6. 99 Dollar Social

99 Dollar Social is a social media marketing agency that outsources content production to VAs on a per-project basis. It primarily needs content creation for short blogs and ads. So if you have copywriting experience, you’ll have a better shot at qualifying as a VA.

7. Belay

Experienced VAs who want consistent work with decent rates can consider Belay. It has a strict hiring process comprised of three parts: the initial screening, a skills assessment, and the final interview. Although application takes a while, qualified VAs are rewarded with good-paying, long-term clients.

8. Virtalent

VAs looking for long-term work opportunities should consider Virtalent. It’s a remote agency in the UK that provides SMBs and mid-sized enterprises with a broad range of administrative services, from appointment scheduling to prospecting.

9. Time Etc.

Another solid VA agency based in the UK is Time Etc. It provides US and UK startups and business owners with administrative services through skilled, all-around executive assistants.

10. Vicky Virtual

Vicky Virtual specializes in voice process jobs. It provides SMBs with skilled VAs who’ll serve as their virtual receptionist. Your daily duties will primarily revolve around taking complaints, answering queries, and reaching out to client business partners.

11. Virtual Gal Friday

Virtual Gal Friday provides VA job opportunities in the following specialized sectors: legal, medical, and accounting. If you pass, expect to focus on specific tasks. Most of its clients require VAs who’ll do paralegal work, answer phone calls, reach out to prospects, or manage internal company-wide messages all day.

Maximize Freelance Sites to Land VA Jobs Quickly

With the competition on VA freelancing platforms growing fiercer, expect to spend more time prospecting. Clients have a lot more hiring options nowadays. To outperform other applicants, prove your worth with a reputable online presence, impressive portfolio, and data-backed result analysis.

Steps to take when a remote job turns out to be more office-based | Rhymer Rigby,

It is a very recent work problem. Late in the intense pandemic period or shortly afterwards, you changed jobs. The job you applied for was sold to you as largely or wholly remote. But slowly you have found yourself being asked to come into the office more and more. There’s always a reason, but now you’re in three or four days a week. This is not what you signed up for. So, what should you do?

Take a step back

Ask yourself how bad it really is. Were you sold a completely different job, or is it just a bit different? Think, too, about the role itself. Has it changed, or have external circumstances changed? Ask yourself if you’re being unreasonable and if this is instead just a minor annoyance.

Ensure you communicate about work expectations

Provide regular updates and communicate. Ensure you participate in chat, group calls, and video meetings — even those where your presence is optional. Yes, it’s a bit performative, but good work doesn’t always speak as loudly as it should.

Get some context

You need to determine where the change is coming from. Is it an edict from the CEO, who has decided to go office-based? Is it directed at just you or at the people who work for your boss? Sound out your colleagues. You might discover that many people are in the same boat, which is great — you have allies. One person approaching the boss is easy to dismiss, half the team less so.

Understand your boss’s position

This is key. If everyone is being affected by this, your boss might be shielding you from its worst effects. In this case, you want to make a kind of general complaint, rather than blame the boss.

Build your case

If, for example, you chose remote work because it fitted around childcare or other family commitments, these can be presented as extremely difficult to deal with. Worth pointing out, too, is that your commute is lost time and makes you less efficient. Stress the positives. You are calmer, more effective, and more productive if you are allowed to work partly or wholly from home.

Find independent evidence

One of the key arguments in favour of remote work is that it makes employees more productive. Thanks to the pandemic, a great deal of research has been done on this in the past few years. So look up some studies such as one from global not-for-profit Catalyst, which shows that remote employees are 68% more likely to report high organisational commitment, or one from PwC, where 57% of business leaders said remote or hybrid work boosted productivity, at least in the short term.

Ask for a meeting

This is an important issue and could materially impact your future at the company. So set up a proper meeting to discuss it. While you are asking your employer to stick to an agreement that was made, you need to be reasonable, too. So, think of some concessions that are relatively easy for you to make but would be important to them. You might commit to being in for certain days. Stress that you want to find a positive outcome for everyone and try to offer solutions.

If they say no

Here you have a number of choices, and these depend on whether the disagreement is with your immediate manager or is more of a company-wide issue. In the former case, if you get on well with those above your boss or others in the hierarchy, you might approach them informally. A more formal route would be to speak to HR. You could also get an employment lawyer to look over your contract.

And if this fails?

If you have a serious work issue that is proving intractable, it may be worth asking yourself if you might be happier elsewhere. You may decide the legal route is simply not worth it or that a company that is inflexible is not for you. Here, you are in a strong position. In many countries, there are more jobs than applicants. What is more, many companies are now very supportive of remote work and even when it’s entirely remote. Moreover, these tend to be forward-looking companies. So, start job hunting. And you can be completely honest in your interview when they ask why you want to leave your current job.

4 Reasons Why Happy Employees Are Good for Your Bottom Line | Deanna Ritchie for,

As a company, you likely prioritize the happiness of your clients and customers. After all, a happy customer can lead to repeat business, as well as new business through word-of-mouth referrals. However, if you don’t consider employee happiness, you could be inadvertently hurting the company’s financial performance. Though it may seem an unlikely budget line item, companies can expect to see several benefits as a result of investing in employee happiness.

1.Increased productivity

When you prioritize employee happiness, productivity follows. A study of U.K. telecom workers by researchers from Oxford University’s Saïd Business School found that employees who were happy at work were 13% more productive than those who weren’t. These call center reps didn’t achieve their increased output by logging more hours. Rather, they made more calls and earned more sales conversions because they were — you guessed it — happy.

2. More collaboration among co-workers

It’s not hard to imagine that employees would be more eager to team up with sunny-minded colleagues than gloomy ones. There’s research evidence to prove it. A WeWork/Ipsos survey of 4,000 workers in the U.S. and Europe found that over half of all respondents who reported themselves happy at work collaborate with five or more co-workers daily. Unsatisfied workers reported notably lower levels of collaboration — and this lack of collaboration costs businesses.

3. Stronger client and customer relationships

A happy employee can boost client relationships in several ways. First of all, the employee working with the client is the one who will leave a lasting impression. If they’re unhappy in the workplace, those feelings may seep into client meetings. Furthermore, an employee who is feeling overworked and stressed may not offer beneficial services to the client, as doing so could add to their workload. Not only do you miss the chance of an upsell, you risk not meeting the client’s expectations and ultimately losing them to a competitor.

4. Higher retention rates

As the Great Resignation vividly demonstrated, employees who aren’t happy at work won’t hesitate to leave. And that’s something business owners definitely want to avoid. In Gallup’s conservative estimate, a company will spend anywhere from one-half to two times an employee’s annual salary to replace the departed worker. That’s not petty cash.

Not only are there the hard costs of advertising the opening, interviewing candidates and training subsequent hires, there’s a significant cost in lowered productivity. It can take a year or more for a new employee to get fully up to speed, and the colleagues who are training them get pulled away from their own work, causing a further hit to productivity. Add in skill loss and damage to the customer experience, and it’s not hard to see why employee turnover is so harmful.

How to make your employees happy

Offer an attractive compensation package

A 2022 Willis Towers Watson survey found that 81% of employees who were pleased with their benefits would stick with their current employer for another two years or more. Just 51% of the displeased would say the same. To make your employees happy, your compensation package should be “competitive-plus.” Aim for the upper range of the prevailing salary scale, and consider adding additional perks (childcare reimbursements, transit pass discounts, etc.) to the expected health insurance, PTO and retirement benefits trifecta.

Make flexibility your watchword

Some employees might prefer a set schedule and the ability to leave work behind when they go home at night. Others may be more productive if they’re working from home a few days per week or even after so-called business hours. This variability argues against in-office or at-home requirements. Instead, give your employees some guidelines and trust them to choose the settings where they will be at their most productive.

You might even follow the lead of the more than 70 U.K. companies that are experimenting with a four-day workweek. When asked how the pilot program was going, 35 of the 41 survey respondents said their company would “likely” or “very likely” continue the policy past the trial stage. And why not? All but two of the companies had found that productivity had either stayed the same or gotten better. In fact, six of them reported that it had improved significantly.

Protect their time

An inexpensive — even cost-saving — way to improve employee productivity and happiness is to eliminate superfluous meetings and check-ins. Unnecessary meetings eat up valuable time and energy across the company. Instead of using recurring meetings to check on the status of a project, use project management software to stay up-to-date in real time instead.

Some meetings are necessary, but you can undoubtedly make them shorter and more efficient. Invite only those people whose input is necessary to make decisions. Others who simply need to be informed can be updated via email or other channels. Develop and pre-circulate a meeting agenda, and when meeting time arrives, be sure to stick to it.

Employee happiness is an investment work

Although you may need to shell out some money to keep your employees happy, it will be well worth it in the long run. When you show employees that you care about their happiness, you’re building a bond of trust and loyalty. Not only does this lead to a happier and more productive workplace, but it also helps save money by retaining employees and avoiding the costs of hiring someone new.